Monday, June 06, 2011

Germany Sprouts Ecoli: Nein not Sicks

German diners may be both relieved and concerned that the recent E.coli outbreak may have been narrowed down to a single suspect - sprouts. TheBigRetort asks, were the warning bells ringing a decade prior to the recent outbreak?

If German sprouts do turn out to be the culprit responsible for 22 deaths (and climbing) German health watchdogs, may find it prudent to further examine a scientific paper that presaged such an event - over a decade ago.

The paper, which was published in January 1998 and was researched by a number of Japanese scientists, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases amongst them.

The group, using cultivation, immunofluorescence microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy, demonstrated the presence of viable enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 not only on the outer surfaces but also in the inner tissues and stomata of cotyledons of radish sprouts grown from seeds experimentally and contaminated with the bacterium.

HgCl2 treatment of the outer surface of the hypocotyl did not kill the contaminating bacteria. Recommendation emphasized the importance of either using seeds free from E. coli O157:H7 in the production of radish sprouts 'or heating the sprouts before they are eaten'.

In other words... cook it hot.  Or, in the German vernacular, 'nein' not 'sicks'.

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